Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms used to be limited to the large-business world. But a number of vendors have changed all that, making these useful systems great business tools for small and medium sized business (SME) operators that want to maximize every customer and prospect. As the breadth of small business demands has grown, so have the available functions.
Choosing is the Key!
Not every CRM would address your Company’s need, that’s why it’s important to choose the proper CRM that would help define your SME needs.
Gone are the days when CRM was a system for managing only leads and sales. Although this feature is still a fundamental part of CRM, today the most progressive and successful companies use CRM as a relationship and loyalty management tool.
Today’s CRM platforms go beyond simply tracking contacts and sales opportunities, or housing notes, tasks and other standard information. Beyond those basic functionalities, look for a solution that lets you take a more detailed look at your customer database. “The cost of retention is $180 per customer,” he says. “But most automotive dealerships are set up for customer acquisition – which is crazy when you consider the average cost of customer acquisition is $1,000 or more.” -Arthur Hughes, author of several books on using databases to enhance CRM.
Be Prepared: Do Your CRM Research- Get customized modules
Implementing a CRM platform that delivers useful information requires advanced preparation to maximize the return on your investment (ROI). Most small businesses can use their existing data, such as customer lists, to get the system’s database going. They probably have some contact information they want to initially populate, and then they may want to set up some additional custom fields, tags, and categorization of their data.
Keep in touch
Most companies focus predominantly on attracting new clients and nurturing leads, which is perfectly fine, as long as you don’t forget to cater for the people who are already your customers. Do you have a system or plan of communication for the people who leave your sales funnel as customers? How do you expect to build a long-lasting relationship based on mutual trust if you don’t reach out?
Sure, you respond to clients when something has gone wrong but it may be worth sending them other communications from time to time as well. Your CRM is perfect for that task and it should absolutely incorporate a communications strategy. Your customers’ data and contact information, so get communicating. Update them on company news and updates, announce sales and exclusive offers, ask for their opinions etc. Don’t be a stranger!